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Italian Language/translation of: "leale"


Dear Maria,

My question is about the adjective “leale”.

My dictionary states that “leale” means -  “faithful”, “loyal”, “fair”, or “honest”

Can you please tell me if there is any way for me to know when to translate “leale” as “faithful”, and when to translate “leale” as “honest”.

For example, how can I know that “leali” means “faithful” (and not “honest”) in the following sentence:

“Il miglior modo di agire è essere leali.”
The best way of behaving is to be faithful.

Thank you so much for all of your great help and patience with my questions.



Dear Rich,

in Italian the adjective “leale” corresponds to “faithful”, “loyal” and “fair” just in the sense of a person adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea, rather than to  “honest” which is “onesto” meaning “not deceptive or fraudulent”, “marked by  integrity”, “sincere”.

Therefore “Il miglior modo di agire è essere leali” must be translated as “The best way of behaving is to be faithful” or “The best way of behaving is to be loyal”.
See also:”Adotta una tattica leale!”(Use a fair tactic!) just to refer to a behavior consistent with rules, logic, or ethics.

On the contrary,  we say “E’ un avvocato onesto” (he is an honest lawyer), “E’ sempre stato un uomo onesto”(He has always been an honest man) to indicate a person marked by  integrity.

All the best,


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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.


Over 25 years teaching experience.

I received my Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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